The Manchuria Crisis, 1931-3. Japan invades a part of China and defies the LON. Map of Japan, China and the province of Manchuria. How far did Japan control Manchuria before invading it?. Had gained control of Manchuria from Russia in 1905, when Japan won the Russo-Japanese War
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The Manchuria Crisis, 1931-3 Japan invades a part of China and defies the LON
How far did Japan control Manchuria before invading it? • Had gained control of Manchuria from Russia in 1905, when Japan won the Russo-Japanese War • Had also seized Manchuria’s neighbour Korea in 1910 • Owned the South Manchurian Railway • Had an army stationed there to protect the railway • Yet Manchuria was a part of China.
Why did the army decide to invade Manchuria in 1931? • The Japanese army wanted a policy of ruling parts of China, rather than just having ‘influence’ there. • Wanted to be equal to the European great powers, who had large empires in Africa and Asia • China had started trying to regain control of Manchuria • In the 1920s, Japan’s population was growing and it had to import food and raw materials. Manchuria had both. • The WSC made matters worse because it led to the collapse of Japan’s silk export industry • The army felt that a policy of conquest would bring recovery and greatness to Japan
The government didn’t back the idea of an invasion, so how was it carried out? • An explosion took place at Mukden on the South Manchurian Railway in September 1931 • The Japanese blamed the Chinese • The Chinese denied responsibility • The Japanese army invaded anyway • They put a “puppet ruler” in charge of Manchuria • They renamed it Manchukuo
Was this popular in Japan? • Very! • A wave of nationalist support from the people • So the Japanese government, which was scared of the army, accepted the invasion • This put the government in a difficult position with the League • In 1932, the PM was murdered and from then the army dominated the government
What did the LON do? • It was sympathetic to Japan a) because Japan already had influence and money invested in Manchuria and b) because of the doubts about which side started the Mukden incident • But it ordered Japan to leave Manchuria • Japan ignored the League • Then the League commissioned an enquiry into what had happened • Lord Lytton published a report telling Japan to leave Manchuria • Japan ignored it and left the LON
Why did the LON fail in this case? • It sympathised with the idea of Japan having an empire • It was slow to blame Japan; the invasion happened in Sept 1931, the Lytton Report was only published in late 1932 • It failed to follow up its warnings to Japan to leave Manchuria; it didn’t impose economic sanctions because it didn’t want to reduce world trade • It didn’t impose military sanctions to force Japan out of Manchuria, because the great powers had few forces in that part of the world
Textbook verdict • “However, because these events took place in East Asia and not in Europe, they were not too damaging to the League’s authority. It was easy for the League’s supporters to believe that if a similar crisis occurred in Europe ..the League would be able to cope with it.”
Does David Low agree that Manchuria ‘wasn’t too damaging to the League’s authority?’